For a lot of people, the first Weber grill they own might be one of our Smokey Joe’s. They are a great entry-level grill, they are portable, and their small size makes them perfect for tailgating, camping or for when space is an issue.
Like all Weber charcoal grills, they feature a damper (ventilation) system that helps keep charcoal burning well, and allows the temperature of the grill to be adjusted by changing the damper settings.
Our standard Smokey Joe has dampers on the lid and the bottom of the bowl, which makes it very similar to our full size charcoal models, but the Smokey Joe Premium is a little different. The Smokey Joe Premium features two vents that are on the side of the bowl, rather than on the bottom.
It also does not feature an ash catcher under the grill, which makes the Smokey Joe Premium really well suited for camping, because any ashes or hot cinders are contained inside of the bowl, which means they won’t be blown away if it’s windy. However, because the ashes are kept in the bowl it means that it’s really important to keep up with cleaning them out as needed. This will help maximize airflow inside of the bowl, which in turn will help keep the coals burning well. It also will help keep the bowl in the best shape possible.
If you ever have trouble grilling on a Smokey Joe Premium the best things to do are to make sure that the bowl is clean and free of ashes, and to make sure the side vents and lid damper are fully open. For some other tips on helping a charcoal grill work properly, please check out our blog here.